Ulster Unionist Environment spokesperson Danny Kinahan has supported the Environment Minister’s indication that he will consider a one-off funding scheme to improve derelict properties on the north coast.
South Antrim MLA Mr Kinahan said:
“The north coast really is a jewel in Northern Ireland’s crown. The beautiful scenery and set piece events such as the North West 200 and the Milk Cup attract thousands of visitors in addition to regular holiday makers. The recent economic downturn has encourage d more people to take “staycations” whereby they take holidays at home, often for short breaks, rather than travelling abroad.
This year the Irish Open golf championship is coming to Royal Portrush for the first time in Northern Ireland since 1953 and hopes are extremely high that the Open itself will come here in the near future.
Unfortunately Portrush has a number of derelict buildings which take away greatly from the appearance of the town. One particular eyesore is the site of the Metropole which greets visitors entering the town from Coleraine and Portstewart.
Portstewart itself suffers from the appearance of the site of the former Montague hotel and adjacent supermarket, both directly opposite the Town Hall.
Newcastle in County Down has benefitted great deal from investment and I am in no doubt that any public money which is spent on improving the look of derelict sites will be paid back many times over from increased tourist spend. The North Coast will be on show as never before this summer and I support the Environment Minister in his efforts to ensure that Portrush and Portstewart show the best possible faces to visitors.”